How to Maximize Sperm Count

Three Methods:Protecting Your SpermMaximizing Your Sperm Count with a Healthy LifestyleRuling Out Possible Underlying Medical Problems

The higher your sperm count, the easier it should be to father a child. When you ejaculate, your semen should contain at least 15 million sperm per milliliter. If it is lower, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a child, it just makes it harder. You can maximize your sperm count by protecting your sperm from damaging substances, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting treatment for any underlying medical problems.[1]

Method 1
Protecting Your Sperm

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    Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Smoking is associated with a lower sperm count and lower quality for the sperm that you do have. It can cause them to have the wrong shape and be less mobile, making it harder for them to fertilize the egg.[2] If you quit, your sperm count may improve.[3] If you need help quitting, you can get support by:[4]
    • Talking to your doctor, attending a treatment program, or seeing a specialist. If you try nicotine replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about whether this could also impact your sperm count.
    • Talking to friends and family.
    • Joining an in person or online support group.
    • Getting support from toll free hotlines which are available in the US and many other countries. Check online or in your phone book for the numbers.
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    Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking can reduce testosterone and lower sperm production.[5] If you are concerned that your drinking might be lowering your sperm count and you need help quitting, there are lots of resources available to help you:[6][7]
    • Join a detox program to get medical supervision during withdrawal.
    • Get support from a counselor or local support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
    • Get counseling, either alone, or together with your partner or family.
    • Try medications to curb the cravings. Talk to your doctor first before taking medications while trying to father a child.
    • Join a residential treatment program for round-the-clock medical and emotional support.
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    Abstain from using illegal drugs. Various drugs may damage your testicles or sperm. In addition, drugs that are purchased on the street have no quality controls. This means that they could contain chemical contaminants that could be dangerous for your sperm. What type of damage occurs will depend upon what chemicals you have used and how much.[8]
    • Cocaine and marijuana may lower sperm count and quality.
    • Anabolic steroids may shrink your testicles and reduce sperm production.
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    Avoid industrial or environmental chemicals that may be dangerous to your sperm. If your job puts you in contact with these substances, wear safety gear and talk to your doctor about whether they could be lowering your sperm count. The greater your exposure, the more likely it is that they will lower your sperm count.These include:[9][10]
    • Benzenes
    • Toluene
    • Xylene
    • Herbicides
    • Pesticides
    • Organic solvents
    • Painting materials
    • Lead
    • Heavy metals
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    Reduce your chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). STDs can cause damage the testicles, inhibit sperm production, or damage the tubes through which the sperm must pass. You can reduce your chances of contracting one by being monogamous with an uninfected partner or always using a latex condom when having non-monogamous sex.[11][12][13]
    • Put a condom on before sexual contact begins and use it throughout.
    • If the condom breaks, replace it with a new one immediately.
    • Don't use expired condoms. They are more prone to breaking.
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    Get screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Most STDs are curable with the right medications. Getting prompt treatment can improve your sperm count. The longer you are infected, the more likely it is that you will develop serious complications and damage to your reproductive system. STDs that are associated with low sperm counts include: [14][15]
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea
    • Prostatitis
    • HIV
    • Testicular infections
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    Ask your doctor whether you medications could be lowering your sperm count. Do not just stop your medications. Always consult your doctor because it may be possible to change your medications if they are indeed the cause of your low sperm count. Medications that can reduce sperm count or affect fertility include:[16][17][18]
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Some antibiotic and antifungal medications
    • Some ulcer medications
    • Testosterone replacement therapy
    • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
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    Keep your sperm cool. Too much heat can reduce sperm production. If you have a job that exposes you to extreme heat, talk to your doctor about whether it could be reducing your sperm production. You can safeguard your sperm by:[19]
    • Wearing loose underwear
    • Forgoing saunas and hot tubs
    • Not sitting with your laptop in your lap
    • Minimizing the length of time that you sit. This is particularly relevant for men who drive trucks and have to sit for long periods of time.

Method 2
Maximizing Your Sperm Count with a Healthy Lifestyle

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    Nourish your sperm with a healthy diet. Foods with antioxidants may help you reduce damage to sperm and keep them healthy.[20] Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.[21] These fruits, vegetables, potatoes, nuts, and beans are excellent sources of antioxidants:
    • Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries[22]
    • Other fruits like pears, apples, grapes, citrus, peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, prunes, bananas, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, tomatoes, and olives[23]
    • Vegetables such as artichokes, okra, kale, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, and red cabbage[24]
    • Sweet, red, and russet potatoes when eaten with the skin[25]
    • Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed[26]
    • Kidney beans, edamame and lentils[27]
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    Protect your sperm through exercise. Exercise may increase your body’s level of antioxidant enzymes. It can also help you control your weight. Because being overweight is associated with a lower sperm count, this may also help.[28] The Mayo Clinic recommends:[29]
    • 75 – 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week, such as walking, running, swimming, or playing sports.
    • Doing strength training, such as weight lifting, twice per week.
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    Reduce your stress. Stress hormones can lower your sex drive, hamper your performance, and reduce sperm production.[30] Develop good stress management skills by:[31]
    • Exercising. Your body will release endorphins which will lift your mood and relax you.
    • Using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, visualizing calming images, progressive tensing and relaxing the different muscle groups in your body, massage, music or art therapy
    • Seeing a counselor or joining a support group
    • Talking to friends and family
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    Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep may reduce a man's sperm count by almost 30%.[32] Most adults need approximately eight hours of sleep each night. You can improve your sleep habits by:[33]
    • Going to bed at the same time every night.
    • Reducing your caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol consumption. Each of these can disrupt sleep.
    • Keeping your bedroom dark and quiet as you fall asleep.
    • Reducing napping during the day.
    • Getting more exercise. This will help you be tired at night.
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    Help your partner track her ovulation. Women generally ovulate around day 14 of their cycle. The best time for sex is the day or two just before ovulation. She can track her ovulation by:[34]
    • Noticing changes in her body that signal ovulation, such as abdominal cramps
    • Noting an increase in clear vaginal secretions that may signal ovulation
    • Taking her temperature every morning. Women's resting temperature is slightly higher during ovulation.
    • Purchasing an over-the-counter ovulation kit. These kits enable her to test her urine to detect the increase in hormones that occurs just before ovulation.
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    Time sex to maximize the chances of conception. Sperm can live for several days inside a woman's reproductive tract. Even if your sperm count is low, the likelihood of conception will be greatest when:[35]
    • You and your partner have unprotected sex daily or every other day.
    • You have sex during the four days leading up to her ovulation.
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    Use lubricants that won’t damage your sperm during sex. In particular, Astroglide, K-Y jelly, lotions, and saliva can reduce sperm motility. Better options include:[36][37]
    • Baby oil
    • Canola oil
    • Egg white
    • The commercially produced Pre-Seed
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    Ask your doctor whether herbal or dietary supplements are right for you. They won’t treat an underlying medical problem and they are only likely to help if you have a deficiency. Do discuss them with your doctor before trying them because some may interfere with other medications or be harmful in high doses or when taken for a long time. In addition, the dosages are not quality controlled the way medications are.[38] However, the following may be beneficial:[39]
    • Vitamin C will boost your immune system and help prevent the sperm from clumping. This makes them better able to travel to fertilize the egg.
    • Vitamin E prevents the head of the sperm from drying out. This helps it live longer.
    • Vitamins B6 and B12 will promote the production of healthy sperm.
    • Selenium can improve the sperms' lifespans.
    • Zinc increases sperm production and helps their mobility.

Method 3
Ruling Out Possible Underlying Medical Problems

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    See a doctor if you have trouble having a child. Most people realize they have a low sperm count after they have difficulty conceiving. Get checked by a doctor if you don’t conceive after trying for over one year or if you have other symptoms. This could indicate an underlying problem:[40][41]
    • Low sex drive
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Ejaculation problems
    • Pain or swelling in your testicles
    • Prior surgery to your groin, testicles, penis, or scrotum
    • Trauma to your sexual organs
    • Having had cancer treatments. The treatments may lower your sperm count.
    • Undescended testicles
    • Cystic fibrosis, which may obstruct the flow of sperm
    • Hormonal abnormalities
    • Celiac disease. You may be able to increase your fertility by eliminating gluten from your diet.[42]
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    Get your semen analyzed. By counting your sperm under a microscope, the doctor can determine if you have a low sperm count. Your doctor will probably want to examine at least two samples. You can provide a good sample by:[43]
    • Masturbating into a receptacle provided by the doctor
    • Providing the entire ejaculate
    • Abstaining from sex for one to 11 days before providing the sample
    • Not using lubricants
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    Get a thorough examination. Depending upon what the doctor suspects the problem is, he or she may do the following additional investigations:[44]
    • A visual exam of your genitals.
    • Ask questions about your sex life, sexual development, illnesses, injuries, surgeries, and genetic disorders in your family.
    • An ultrasound of your scrotum to make sure there are no structural problems.
    • Test your hormones to make sure they are sufficient for sperm production.
    • Test your urine for sperm to make sure you do not have retrograde ejaculation. When this occurs, your sperm go into your bladder.
    • Genetic tests to see if you have genetic disorder
    • A biopsy of your testicles. During this test the doctor will remove sperm with a needle to examine whether you are producing enough sperm. This can help determine if you have a blockage.
    • Anti-sperm antibody tests to determine whether your immune system is attacking your sperm.
    • Examine how well your sperm survives after ejaculation, attaches to the egg, and penetrates the egg.
    • A transrectal ultrasound to check for prostate problems and blockages in the ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles.
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    Discuss treatment options with your doctor and your partner. Depending upon what the cause of your low sperm count is, your options may include:[45]
    • Antibiotics to get rid of an infection. In a many cases if an infection is caught quickly, no permanent damage will result.
    • Counseling or medication for erectile problems.
    • Medications to adjust your hormone levels.
    • Surgery to reverse a vasectomy, unblock a vas deferens, correct a swelling in the veins which drain the testicles, or take sperm out of the testicles or epididymis directly.
    • Assisted reproductive technology treatments. This may involve putting the sperm directly into the partner’s reproductive tract, doing in vitro fertilization, or injecting sperm directly into an egg. Which option your doctor recommends will likely vary on whether the sperm have the mobility to fertilize the sperm once placed the the reproductive tract.
    • Using a sperm donor or adopting. This would likely be a last resort if you are unable to have a biological child of your own.

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Categories: Men's Health | Reproductive Health